Saturday, February 11, 2012

Religious Liberty - #3647- Religious Clergy and Employees Involved in 'Worship' and 'Proselytizing' Cut Out of Federal Student Loan Forgiveness - The Blaze

As education costs continue to rise, many Americans find themselves in a great deal of student-loan debt upon receiving their degrees. It is this dynamic that led to specific provisions in the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007, a bill intended to help students grapple with the high cost of modern-day education. But as the government continues to clarify the details of its federal loan forgiveness program for public service workers, it seems there’s one cohort that the government won’t be helping — those engaged in “religious instruction, worship services, or any form of proselytizing. Under this program, you may qualify for forgiveness of the remaining balance due on your eligible federal student loans after you have made 120 payments on those loans under certain repayment plans while employed full time by certain public service employers. Since you must make 120 monthly payments on your eligible federal student loans after October 1, 2007 before you qualify for the loan forgiveness, the first cancellations of loan balances will not be granted until October 2017. Now, let’s look at the professions covered under this regulation. The forgiveness applies to any individual working for a government organization (federal, state, local or tribal), or any non-profit worker who is employed at a 501(c)(3) organization (this includes colleges and universities). In the end, this encompasses virtually all community service workers, however there are a few exceptions.  The law does not cover labor unions or partisan political organizations. Considering that these groups are explicitly political, this exemption is self-explanatory. Additionally, under the list of viable careers covered by the loan law, a specific line explains the government’s stance on loan forgiveness for religious employees: “Your employment at a non-profit organization does not qualify if your job duties are related to religious instruction, worship services, or any form of proselytizing.”  Read more........

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